Strictly steps up the pressure in The X Factor ratings battle

The talent show wars continue with ITV beginning to lose ground

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Strictly Come Dancing out-rated The X Factor when the two shows went head-to-head on Saturday night.

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Undoubtedly, this will provide greater cause for concern at both Syco and ITV towers as the viewing figures for their flagship talent show continue to slip.

Between 7:45pm and 8pm – the fifteen minutes that the programmes overlapped – Strictly achieved an average audience of 9.75 million whilst The X Factor could only manage 8.15 million viewers. 

Overall, though, Saturday’s X Factor broadcast was still the most popular of the evening. The whole show averaged 9.6 million viewers (a 38.5% share) between 7:45pm and 9.55pm on ITV1 (and HD). A further 450,000 chose to watch an hour later on ITV1+1. Still, the corresponding live show in 2010 achieved 12 million viewers on ITV1, demonstrating a loss of two million viewers in the past 12 months. 

Strictly Come Dancing averaged 9.05 million viewers (a 39.2 per cent share) of the audience between 6:25pm and 8:15pm on BBC1 (and HD) on Saturday.

In its Sunday night slot, The X Factor is also showing signs of decline. The results show, one of the most important marketing platforms in the music business, could only achieve 11.4 million viewers (a 40.5 per cent share) between 8pm and 9pm. A further 230,000 watched on ITV1+1. The corresponding show last year averaged 13.4 million viewers. 

So, what’s gone wrong with The X Factor this year?

Is it the judges? Well, three new mentors in one year is certainly the closest Simon Cowell’s talent show has ever come to a revolution. But it seemed that people were warming to Gary Barlow, Tulisa and Kelly Rowland in the early stages.

Perhaps, then, it’s the unceremonious and frankly cruel axing of young hopefuls at bootcamp (before even getting a chance to sing), and then a group culling for “the big twist” in the first live show that has got peoples’ goats. 

Maybe the contestants are simply too dull this year, slotting too easily into a now established formula that always includes at least one joke act, a ballad belter and a boy band in cowl neck jumpers.

Has the all-important ‘X Factor’ been lost in a parade of sameness? You tell us.

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